In December 1961, the Rt. Rev. Matthew George Henry, Jim Perry and Roland Whitemire met with 12 local families and discussed the possibilities of a new mission in east Gastonia. In subsequent meetings, committees were appointed and an attractive piece of property was selected as the site of the mission.
In January 1962, the Rev. Robin Johnson, who had been serving the Sylva-Cullowhee area, moved to Gastonia and gave leadership to the potential congregation. The first service was held in an old house on the property in February 1962. The congregation was officially organized March 4, 1962, when 20 people signed the necessary petition and presented it to Bishop Henry. The Rev. Robin Johnson was chosen as vicar.
In May 1962, the temporary chapel was erected. The men of the church did the construction with the women bringing a picnic lunch. It was much like a barn-raising of old and set the tone of the congregation through work and worship that continues to characterize All Saints. Two years later, this chapel was dismantled and a new permanent church built. A new parish house was completed in 1968.
On June 29, 1986, the Rev. Robin Johnson retired after twenty-four years of faithful service. Rev. Johnson was well known in Gaston County and is responsible for the organization of Alcoholics Anonymous groups, Hospice and other outreach ministries. Rev. Johnson provided pastoral care both to his parishioners and to many other people in Gastonia and Gaston County.
In June 1987, the Rev. Stephen Stanley was called as rector. Father Stanley served in this capacity until May 1990, providing for a transition period. Father Stanley answered a call to be chaplain to the students at the University of North Carolina in June 1990.
In March 1991, the Rev. J. Houston Matthews III of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina was called to be the third rector of All Saints. He served from June 1991 until his retirement in January 2005. Under Father Matthews’ leadership, the sanctuary underwent a major renovation, a new parish hall was constructed, and a 55-niche columbarium was built under the oaks. All Saints became actively involved in the Family Promise, a program in which area churches rotate weekly to house and assist families who are homeless.
In December 1996, the Rev. Dn. Pat Cheshire was ordained as a permanent deacon and was responsible for beginning the Towel Ministry and a chapter of the International Order of St. Luke (OSL) at All Saints Episcopal Church. Deacon Pat now serves St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gastonia.
In January 2010, the Rev. Dn. Anita Ware was ordained as a permanent deacon. Deacon Anita is responsible for starting the Ecclesia Garden, and she has increased our involvement in numerous outreach ministries. All Saints is firmly committed to spiritual support, having sponsored and supported 5 seminarians over the past 20 years.
In October 2006, the Rev. Ben G. Robertson IV was called to be the fourth rector of All Saints. This was Father Ben’s first time to be a rector, and during his tenure we connected more with our youthful side, used more technology, enjoyed insightful sermons and celebrated the birth of Ben and Ellen’s first child, Anna. He served until September 2010, when he answered a call to be Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
In April 2012, the Rev. Dr. Gary Butterworth of the Diocese of Southern Viriginia was called to be the fifth rector of All Saints. We are excited to continue our faith journey with Rev. Gary.